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When GPs get it wrong

Our first port of call when we’re not well is usually our GP. And, in most cases, we’re treated effectively and sent on our way to recover.

However, there are instances when GPs get it wrong. Medical negligence – and the resulting ill health and injuries – can be the result.

How often do GPs get it wrong?

If you’re due to visit your GP, you can rest assured knowing that you’re more likely than not going to be affected by them making a mistake. Errors and negligence are a rarity.

However, there is always an exception. In 2017/18 – according to the NHS’ most recent statistics –the health service received a total of 75,782 complaints about GPs. Some 24, 676 were upheld, while 9,917 were partially upheld.

The NHS reported that the most complaints came from those aged 26 to 55, with 31,276 made in 2017/18. However, this is not surprising, given that this is the widest age range in the data available, spanning 29 years. The second highest number of complaints were made by those aged 56 to 64. Those in this range made 11,242 complaints.

Meanwhile, the fewest complaints were made by or on behalf of children between six and 17, at 2,529.

What might go wrong?

Some of the bases for patient complaints made about GPs in 2017/18 included:

  • Clinical treatment, including errors
  • Misdiagnosis
  • Not gaining consent for treatment – often through not properly explaining side effects or potential complications, therefore leaving the patient unable to make an informed decision
  • Delayed diagnosis
  • Failing to refer a patient to a specialist
  • Failure to diagnose a condition
  • Prescribing errors

Risks of clinical negligence

A GP is your first stop – there to help direct you to the appropriate healthcare resources. When an error happens right at the first instance that someone seeks help, it throws all further healthcare off track.

If you’re given the wrong diagnosis by a GP, you won’t then receive the treatment you’ll need to recover. You may also find that you are prescribed a treatment that you should not be undergoing, potentially worsening your initial condition and general health.

You may also experience a delayed diagnosis, which could lead to the exacerbation of your condition. In the case of illnesses such as cancer, this could have life-threatening implications.

What to do

Who to take your complaint to can be confusing to establish. This is down to the fact most GPs are not employed directly by the NHS, but are contracted to provide these services. However, every surgery will have a process in place to deal with complaints, so you may choose to first address the surgery.

You can also choose to complain to NHS England about the service you have been provided with. The organisation is responsible for GPs contracts and ensuring they’re carrying out the terms of the contracts.

But if you have suffered an injury as a result of medical negligence, you may want to instruct a solicitor to help you take action against those responsible. You may find that you’re entitled to compensation for the suffering you have been through.

Image copyright: Cathy Yeulet.

How are the rules different when an accident happens abroad?

When you have an accident in the UK, you are typically entitled to justice – depending, of course, on the specific circumstances of the incident.

For example, if it occurred in the last three years and it was caused by someone else’s negligence, you could make a personal injury claim.

But how do the rules differ if the accident happened while you were abroad? And what can you do about it?

Common accidents abroad

In most cases, the sort of accident you might suffer depends entirely on what sort of trip you’re taking. For example, when you’re on a business trip, you are far more likely to be involved in a car accident than you are a sporting accident.

Meanwhile, you’re more likely to suffer an accident in a hotel – such as a slip, trip or fall – while on a holiday in the sun. This is when holiday illnesses are more likely to strike too. Hotels can be breeding grounds for bacteria and germs, particularly in communal areas where guests congregate.

Wherever you go in the world, you’ll come across negligent people. This means you’re no safer abroad than you are at home – and vice versa.

Package or independent holiday?

Whether you were on a package holiday – when accommodation and flights were booked together – or you were an independent traveller – when each part of your holiday was booked separately – will make a difference when it comes to your rights.

According to Citizens Advice, if you were on a package holiday, you are afforded protection through certain legal regulations. This means your holiday company can be held responsible for accidents suffered abroad. Holiday companies provide certain insurance that means you’re protected when something goes wrong.

Meanwhile, there is a great deal less protection for independent travellers. If you’ve booked separate accommodation and flights, you won’t have the same rights to compensation as those who have booked package holidays. Insurance plays a significant part for these travellers – offering a way of addressing certain problems.

Who to hold responsible

What all this means is that there are different rules around the way you can obtain justice – and compensation – after accidents in other countries. Just because you were an independent traveller, it doesn’t mean you’re unable to make a claim for an accident.

In many cases – much like in the UK – you’ll be able to claim against the organisation responsible for where you had your accident or the person directly responsible for it. For example, if you suffered a fall in a supermarket abroad, you could claim against the supermarket owner. And if you had a car accident, you could make a claim against the driver responsible.

And much like in the UK, evidence is important. You should ensure you take photos and video and get as many witness details as possible. You’ll also need to keep medical records to prove how you were affected. You may also have to extend your hotel stay as a result of your injuries, which can then have a financial impact. Keep any hotel bills to add to your injury claim as you may be able to recover what you spent on this additional stay.

Accidents abroad are particularly frustrating experiences. You’re somewhere unfamiliar, where you may not know the processes for dealing with this incident. This highlights the importance of establishing where you stand before you go abroad.

Making a claim is still possible after an accident abroad. You just have to know how to go about it.

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The decline of divorces in the UK

Divorce is ultimately the last step in the breakdown of a marriage. While it’s a stage no couple hopes to reach, unfortunately it can be the only remaining step to repairing the relationship, especially if children are involved. The process of a divorce can be a saddening and difficult for all parties, but it’s an important process of formal separation and ensures that everyone can move on with their lives.

Brown Turner Ross, an experienced firm of Liverpool solicitors, have provided a summary of how divorces in the UK have declined in recent years.

How divorce rates changed in 2018

The UK Office for National Statistics last released the annual divorce figures in November 2019. These figures show the rates of divorce for 2018 and allow us to analyse how this legal sector has changed over the years.

Perhaps the most interesting highlight from the statistics is that the amount of divorces between heterosexual couple’s has reached its lower figure since 1971. With 90,871 in 2018, the rate of divorces decreased by 10.6% compared to the previous year. However, the Ministry of Justice has explained that the processing of a backlog in 2018 can somewhat explain the decrease. As for same-sex marriages, 428 divorces were recorded in 2018. This is an increase of 26.6% over the previous year.

So why do couples decide to seek a divorce? According to the Office for National Statistics, unreasonable behaviour is recorded as the most common ground for divorces followed by two years separation with content. To successfully claim for a divorce based on unreasonable behaviour, the petitioner must show that their partner has acted in a way that means they cannot reasonably be expected to live with them.

When are divorces more likely?

January is typically considered to be the time of the year when most couples seek a divorce. In fact, solicitors often identify the first Monday of the year as ‘Divorce Day’. On this day there has consistently been an increase in reported enquiries relating to divorces. The first Monday is also typically when businesses resume normal working hours after the Christmas break, which can perhaps partly explain the surge in enquiries.

The most obvious connection between January and divorce is the stress of the Christmas holidays. Christmas can be a fun and exciting time, but this is not always the case. December can be a tense time in relationships. Couples may argue over finances for buying gifts or feel that their partner is not making enough of an effort. The stress of family visits can also raise tensions, especially if there’s any ill will between in-laws. Sometimes the long break and extended time together can be enough to drain the feelings between the two people. It’s a time of the year when a person may begin to doubt whether they are completely satisfied in their relationship.

Get advice from divorce solicitors

The breakdown of a relationship can be a troubling development for all concerned. Not just for the couple, but also for family members and especially children. When navigating the tricky waters of separation, it’s important to seek advice from specialist solicitors. This is an important step in the process of receiving clarification on your position. Brown Turner Ross provides clients with an expert solicitor in the area who will aim to achieve a constructive and non-confrontational agreement. They will provide advice on legal aid, cost estimates, mediation, going to court, time estimates and explain the possible outcomes.

Image: Public Domain, from pxfuel.

How insolvency practitioners could actually save you from business debt

Each year, thousands of businesses in the UK face business insolvency. Insolvency means that you cannot afford to meet your financial obligations to your lenders before the debts are due. Insolvency can arise due to circumstances such as poor cash management, a reduction in cash flow due to an unforeseen expense, loss of business to competitors or an unexpected drop in sales.

Insolvency can lead to legal action where assets may be liquidated to pay off outstanding debts. It differs from bankruptcy in that the situation can be temporary, and there is no court order dictating how a business will sell off its assets or pay their creditors. Insolvency can lead to bankruptcy, however, if it extends longer than anticipated.

Insolvency practitioners can help companies with debt problems, finding you a clear route out of debt by obtaining an Individual Voluntary Arrangement (IVA) for sole traders or those self-employed, or a Company Voluntary Arrangement (CVA). This arrangement is between your business and those you owe money to. Insolvency practitioners can help you figure out what you can realistically pay back over a set time and, provided you keep up those repayments, can help you become debt-free.

Here’s how insolvency practitioners can help save your business from debt:

Deal with creditors

Once the IVA or CVA has been agreed to by your creditors – at least 75% of the value of the creditors who agree is needed to the IVA to be approved – it will become official and put into action. After this point, the creditors are no longer involved and cannot contact your business or harass you for payments of debts.

Instead, your insolvency practitioner is the one who corresponds with the creditors on your behalf. If creditors do try to harass you for payment, you can contact your insolvency practitioner to resolve the issue. This helps to take the pressure and stress of the debt off your shoulders. Having a middleman between you and your creditors will help you to manage your debt much more easily.

Monthly payment plan

Your IVA or CVA is essentially a reduced payment plan over an extended period, typically five years, that is designed to help you get out of your debt. Your insolvency practitioner will help you set up a manageable monthly payment plan while the IVA or CVA is being set up. Each monthly repayment goes to your insolvency practitioner, who then distributes it among your creditors.

This manageable monthly amount takes into account your business performance and budget, and your insolvency practitioner is there to guide you through the entire process.

Annual reviews

With an insolvency practitioner, as well as the manageable monthly payments and guidance, they will also conduct an annual review to make sure that everything is on track and moving along. They will carefully analyse your financial situation and ensure that you are on track to paying off your debts. It’s essential to be completely transparent about your finances with your insolvency practitioner because if you are found to be withholding any information relevant to your IVA or CVA, you could find that your arrangement may fail.

Adapt to changes

Over the course of your repayments, there can be changes to your circumstances due to the extended time which you will be paying off the debt. IVAs and CVAs can be flexible and can be adapted to these changes if it fits within the terms of the agreement with your creditors. Your insolvency practitioner can help you with this and alter your plan accordingly.

Experienced professionals

Only licensed insolvency practitioners can use insolvency procedures backed by the law to help your business get out of debt. They are regulated by professional bodies that require high standards of ethics and performance to practice.

An insolvency practitioner will help you assess whether an IVA or CVA is a realistic option for your business. They have a professional responsibility to give the best financial advice, and they will recommend an alternative if they believe an IVA or CVA is not an appropriate option for your business.

Their extensive experience in the field means that they have the skills and expertise needed to help your business get out of debt. They will assess your financial situation and work to find a repayment solution that is manageable for you, giving you the best chance of getting out of debt – and they are also responsible for cancelling your arrangement, should it come to that.

With an IVA or CVA, your company can continue trading, preserving the value of your business and retaining customers. An insolvency practitioner will have the knowledge, qualifications and experience to offer you the best advice for your situation.

Photo by Adeolu Eletu on Unsplash

Your rights as a passenger in an accident

When you’re a passenger involved in a car accident, you might not be aware of the rules around claiming compensation. It may not be as clear as the process would be for a driver.

But the law is clear: if you’ve been hurt as a passenger in an accident that wasn’t your fault, you can make a claim for compensation.

From whiplash to a life-changing injury, you’re entitled to justice when you’re hurt in a car accident.

When can you take action?

If you’ve been a passenger on any form of public transport that has been involved in an accident, you could be able to make a claim for compensation. The same is also true if you were in a taxi or ride-sharing car. If someone drives for a living, they’re obligated to ensure the safety of their passengers. If they don’t, they can be held accountable.

You may have been hurt in an accident caused by a friend or family member. You could have been injured in an accident caused by a colleague while being driven for work.

Meanwhile, if your accident was caused by another car, you can also make a claim. You can do so even if the driver of the car you were in has made a claim of their own. You’re just as entitled to justice as they are. You may want to consider joining forces to pursue a claim together. This is going to be a good option if you’re related or see the driver regularly.

What if road conditions are to blame?

You may have been hurt in an accident that was caused by poor road conditions, such as potholes or cracks. When this is the case, you won’t claim against the driver of the car you were in as they are not actually responsible.

If your injury was caused by the condition of the roads you were being driven on, you can make a claim against the local authority responsible for the roads. They are required to keep the roads in a safe condition, so if they’ve neglected their duty, you can take action. This also means the council is then alerted to the problem. They’ll have the opportunity then to address the poor conditions and try to prevent this kind of accident happening to anyone else.

Should you act?

If you were in the car with a friend or family member, you might feel uneasy or anxious about going ahead with a claim. However, there are a number of factors to consider. Was the person behind the wheel driving irresponsibly? Were they under the influence of alcohol or drugs? Did they disregard your protests to slow down? If the answer to any of these questions is yes, you might feel like you should hold them responsible for their actions.

Ultimately, the decision to pursue legal action lies with you. It will typically depend on the severity of your injuries, whether you suffer any financial loss as a result of the accident and how seriously your life may be affected after the injury.

When it comes to an injury after a car accident as a passenger, what you do is up to you.

Image copyright: Cathy Yeulet

How dangerous is a fall from height?

Workplaces can be dangerous.

When it comes to accidents at work, there is an almost endless number of ways you can get injured. But there’s one type of accident in particular that can cause major injuries, from life-changing to fatalities.

A fall from height is the biggest killer in the workplace. In 2018/19, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that 40 people lost their lives at work after a fall from a height.

The World Health Organization has also found that falls are the second leading cause of accidental injury deaths globally.

The most dangerous industries

Falls from height are more common in certain industries. You’re far less likely to suffer such an accident if you work in an office than if you work on construction sites, for example. However, regardless of industry, you will likely find that a fall from height causes more damage than another type of accident.

The most dangerous industries in the UK in terms of fatalities is agriculture, forestry and fishing. This sector saw 32 deaths in 2018/19. Construction saw the second highest number of deaths, at 30, while manufacturing saw 26.

Since places of work involving heights are common within these industries, it is unsurprising that such a high number of fatalities was seen. It is expected that employees within these sectors will work on ladders, scaffolding, roofs, machinery, platforms and racking, among other heights.

Risk factors

If you work outside, the weather could then have an impact on the chances that you might suffer a fall. Workers are more likely to suffer a fall when it’s wet or icy than if it’s dry outside. So that makes it essential that employers whose workers spend the majority of their time outdoors ensure they have appropriate health and safety policies in place. If you’re worried about your company’s health and safety policies, it’s important to raise your concerns.

Are you more likely to have an injury than someone else? Your attitude may come into play here. You might find that you’re carrying out the same safety precautions and wearing the same gear than colleagues, but if you’re complacent about your safety, you might find that you’re more likely than your co-workers to fall.

The impact of distance

Distance is one of the key factors affecting how dangerous a fall from height will be. If you fall from a distance of just over a foot, you might sprain a wrist or suffer a cut. Falling from 48 feet – or four stories – however, could see your life end. According to reference book Trauma Anesthesia, that’s the median distance for a fall to be fatal. When that increases to seven stories in height, 90% of falls are fatal.

There have been reports of miraculous survivals, such as the flight attendant who survived a 33,333-foot fall when the plane she was in exploded. Vesna Vulović suffered temporary paralysis from the waist down, but the only lasting health issue she suffered from was a limp.

But stories like these are exceptionally rare. It is far more common that someone falling from a significant distance will suffer a catastrophic injury. Imperial College London professor of surgery Sean Hughes told the Guardian that the majority of people who fall from a height die after fracturing their spine at the top, therefore cutting right across the aorta.

Although most workplace accidents can be prevented, working at a height has its own risks. These can be negotiated, but there will always be danger associated with heights. It will always pay to abandon complacency and to take the situation seriously.

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Deciding whether to make a medical negligence claim

You’re not going to be in a particularly healthy state when you go looking for medical attention. If you require treatment, something is wrong.

When this goes wrong for you, it can feel worse because of the weakened state you may have already been in. This is when you might want to start thinking about the viability of making a medical claim.

An issue of trust

Experiencing medical negligence is a devastating betrayal of trust. You agree to undergo a certain treatment because you’re assured that it’s going to help you start feeling better. But mistakes do happen. The NHS saw a £9 billion cost of harm in 2018/19, showing just how possible it is for these errors do happen.

You should be able to trust your clinicians. If they let you down, you have the right to get justice for what you’ve been through. However, it is an emotive issue. When it comes to taking legal action against our healthcare providers, particularly the NHS, we find it very difficult to get comfortable with the issue.

But if you can’t trust your doctors to deliver the healthcare that they should provide, you have the right to justice.

What it will do

Some people think that making a medical negligence claim is about compensation. However, for most victims of this kind of malpractice, it’s about getting the person responsible to own up to the mistakes they have made.

In a majority of cases, those who have suffered from medical negligence want to help stop it happening to anyone else. And one of the best ways of doing so is to draw attention to what went wrong in your case. If the trust responsible for the negligence can address what happened to you, there’s a good chance it can stop it happening again to someone else.

Getting back to yourself

A medical or hospital negligence claim can result in compensation. But it is intended to help get you back to the position you were in before you suffered from this substandard care. It covers the pain and suffering you’ve been through, as well as any further treatment you will require.

This means it can help you pay for rehabilitation or physiotherapy, as well as any necessary adaptations to your home or vehicle to help you get around. It also extends to compensate for any loss of earnings you’ve suffered as a result of not being able to work.

Rather than it being a payout to keep someone quiet or to allow you to benefit financially, medical negligence compensation is meant to improve your quality of life. That malpractice shouldn’t have happened to you, but it did. And you are entitled to the opportunity to get back to who you were before it ever happened.

Deciding to claim

So when you’re thinking about whether you want to make a claim after experiencing medical negligence, don’t forget that you are entitled to justice. You are entitled to help in getting you back to the position you were in before it ever happened. And you are entitled to have any resulting losses compensated for.

It’s your legal right.

Image copyright: Dmitrii Shironosov

Personal injury: how do I know I have a claim?

Personal injury claims cover a wide range of incidents, so how do you know whether you can make a claim for the injury you’ve suffered?

There are so many ways you could get injured – from falling down your stairs at home to being scalded by boiling water in a café. Knowing whether you can make a claim will typically come down to one question: was your injury caused by someone else’s negligence?

If someone is responsible for your accident, you can likely make a personal injury claim against them. This is also true if it’s an organisation or business.

Some of the most common personal injuries include:

Accident at work

Employers have a responsibility to ensure that a workplace is safe. If it has not taken this duty seriously and you have suffered the consequences – in the form of an accident and resulting injury – then you could have a claim.

Some workplaces are more dangerous than others. Someone working on a construction site with moving objects and vehicles and heavy machinery will be more at risk of a serious injury than someone in an office, where the biggest threat is trailing wires and the trip hazard they present.

Road traffic accident

Road traffic accidents are one of the most common types of accidents in the UK. In 2018, there were 160,597 casualties of all severities reported to police, according to the Department for Transport. However, it is likely this figure could be higher as not all injuries and accidents are reported to police.

These accidents are a potential threat to almost everyone. They can happen while driving your own vehicle, on public transport, in a taxi or even as a pedestrian. If you were hurt in an accident while on the roads, you could be able to make a claim against the person responsible.

Slip, trip or fall

Some of the most common accidents you could experience in public places are slips, trips or falls. These accidents could be caused by a range of hazards, including wet or icy surfaces where no signs have been put up or tripping on uneven paving stones.

You could also find yourself falling down public stairs that have not been properly maintained or in an area that lacks an adequate level of lighting. In each of these examples, someone has been responsible for fixing these problems but hasn’t. And this negligence means you will likely be able to make a claim for compensation.

Medical negligence

One of the more sensitive areas of personal injury claims includes the medical negligence field. This is when you have sought medical attention for an existing condition, but the treatment you received was substandard, causing your condition to worsen or a new health problem to develop.

This could have come about after treatment by both the NHS or a private practitioner. You may have suffered various forms of negligence, including misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis, surgical errors, nerve injury or dental negligence, among other forms.

Industrial disease

Along the same legal lines as an accident at work, industrial disease can be caused by a company’s negligence. This is when you suffer an illness because of something you’ve had to do at work. It could happen if you haven’t been provided the necessary protective equipment or if you’d been exposed to harmful substances.

Mesothelioma is just one example of an industrial disease. Caused by asbestos exposure, it is an incurable cancer that can take 20 to 50 years for any symptoms to develop. You may also have suffered from industrial hearing loss, skin diseases or musculoskeletal problems.

Personal injuries

However you may have been injured, if it was the fault of someone else and it happened within the last three years, you could be able to make a claim. This could go a long way towards getting you back on your feet or making your life more comfortable.

You have the right to justice when you’ve been hurt because of someone else’s actions – or lack thereof.

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Most common driving offences and penalties in a UK court

The Christmas season is all but upon us, and with it comes the temptation to have a drink with colleagues or friends before getting into the car. Clearly no one sets out with the intention to drink-drive, and the advice would be not to drink at all, but it is hard if do drink to gauge the exact point when you might be over the legal limit.

There can often be that very sobering moment when you are asked to blow into the breathalyser or are being tested on your cognitive abilities when you begin to consider the consequences of having that extra half-pint. So aside from just drink driving what are some of the most common driving offences and potential penalties?

Speeding offences

Speeding is undoubtedly the most common driving offence in the UK. If you are caught speeding then you’ll usually be sent a Notice of Intended Prosecution and will be required to inform the police who was driving the car at the time of the offence. If you plead guilty then you will not usually be required to attend court, unless the speed breach was of a serious nature and in this case you would need a speeding solicitor.

Drink driving

A breathalyser can measure how much alcohol is in your system. The legal limit for driving in England, Wales and Northern Ireland stands at 35 micrograms of alcohol per 100 millilitres of breath (in Scotland it is 22 micrograms per 100 millilitres of breath). It is difficult to put a on how many drinks this is, as everyone is different, and there are clearly some people who get drunk much quicker than others! Should you test over the limit you will usually be taken to a police station for a second breath test, and if that returns a positive result, you will be charged. If you should refuse to give a roadside breath test then the police will arrest you and look to take a blood or urine sample. You can lose your licence if your test comes back positive, in this case it is best to consult a drink driving solicitor.

Drug driving

Similar to drink driving, there is a zero-tolerance approach taken to drug-driving regardless of level of driver impairment, so once more you will need a drug driving solicitor on your side. Use of cannabis, cocaine or amphetamine may be among the most obvious drug-driving offences, but drug-driving also refers to driving while under the influence of any narcotic substance, so could potentially include both prescription and over the counter medications which when combined can impair your ability to drive.

Careless driving

Careless driving can apply to a number of offences when drivers are not abiding by the rules of the road. Driving without due care and attention, hogging the middle lane, or reckless overtaking could all be considered examples that might lead to a charge or an on-the-spot fine which police are able to issue these days.

Other offences

There are a number of other offences that carry with them varying penalties, including vehicle insurance offences, vehicle registration offences, neglecting road regulations, using a handheld device while driving, being drunk while in charge of a vehicle, and failing to identify the driver at the time an offence was committed, which can all lead to punishments including penalty points, fines, disqualification and imprisonment, depending on the seriousness of the offence.

Testing drivers for drink or drugs

As mentioned above, drunk driving will usually be ascertained through a roadside breathalyser. Drug driving is harder to pin down, and often a police officer, alerted to the driver’s impaired condition through poor driving, will conduct a series of roadside tests. These include tests such as walking in a straight line, giving clear answers to a set of questions, and touching the tip of the finger to one’s nose to ascertain the driver’s cognitive abilities. Should the police not be reassured by these tests, they will take you to the station where they will look to obtain a saliva, urine or blood test.

What is the procedure when charged with a drink or drug diving offence?

As these are criminal offences you will be required to attend court in person. Regardless of whether you are pleading guilty or contesting the charge, you should instruct a solicitor to act on your behalf. Your legal representative will be able to argue your case, or present mitigation which may be able to achieve a more favourable sentence. A well-presented plea of mitigation can often make a difference to the period of disqualification or any potential fine.

What penalties could I face?

  • A drink or drug driving offence carries a mandatory 12 month driving disqualification. In addition to a ban, you could face a fine and up to 6 months’ imprisonment.
  • Causing death by dangerous driving while under the influence of drugs or drink can result in prison sentence of up to 14 years, a driving ban of at least two years (including an intensive driving test before your licence is reinstated), or an unlimited fine.
  • Should you refuse to supply a sample of breath, saliva, urine or blood, you may be detained, imprisoned for up to a year, lose your licence and face an unlimited fine.
  • For speeding offences, depending on how far over the speed limit a driver is, a speed awareness course may be offered, thus avoiding getting points on their licence. If not given the option then 3 points and a £100 fine would be likely. If the speeding offence is at the higher end of the scale then an unlimited fine and driving ban are a real possibility.
  • Careless driving offences can receive on-the-spot fines of £100 or drivers could also receive between 3 and 9 penalty points.

These are just a selection of the most common driving offences and penalties, but should you find yourself in legal trouble during the festive season, whether through drink driving or for any other motoring offence, do not take a chance with the outcome. Call for a driving solicitor to guide you through the process and ensure the best possible result for you.

Image cc by-sa Albert Bridge.

Why no win no fee?

In the majority of legal cases, clients will have to pay for their solicitor’s services upfront. However, with a no win no fee agreement, this isn’t the case.

With a conditional fee agreement – the formal arrangement between you and your lawyer – you will proceed on the basis that you won’t have to pay anything unless you win your case.

The history of no win no fee

Introduced in order to give more people the ability to take their cases to court, the no win no fee model has revolutionised the way UK courts hear personal injury claims. They were first introduced into law in 1995 in England and Wales to cover a range of civil court cases.

Speaking in 1998, when no win no fee was extended to cover all civil cases, except those heard in family courts, then parliamentary secretary Geoff Hoon said: “No-win no-fee conditional agreements will result in better access to justice. Access will be given to the many people who fall between those who are very rich or those who are so poor that they qualify for legal aid.”

He added that in the future, “the question of whether one gets one’s case to court will no longer depend on whether one can afford it, but on whether one’s case is a strong one”.

In 2000, the Access to Justice Act came into force, giving judges the ability to force the losing side in a no win no fee case to pay the additional costs. Legal aid for personal injury cases was also abolished, making no win no fee the best option for many people pursuing a claim.

Today, clients taking on a no win no fee agreement will pay for a legal insurance policy and eventually a success fee upon winning their claim. In most cases, this fee is 25%.

Why choose no win no fee?

When you’ve suffered from a personal injury – including medical negligence – you’ll have more important things to think about than how you’re going to fund your claim. Your recovery will likely be at the forefront of your mind. From treatment to whether you’ll get back to work soon, you’ll have plenty to think about.

If you had to proceed with a personal injury claim without the assurance of a no win no fee claim, the worry about funding it may distract you from the more pressing concern of getting your injuries treated. This, in turn, could put you off going ahead with a claim at all.

This means the no win no fee agreement opens up access to justice and means anyone who has suffered an injury is able to address what happened. It gives people the chance to make things right when they’ve gone so wrong that physical harm was sustained.

It shows that legally, no win no fee is a hugely important model. Giving someone with a valid claim the ability to pursue justice is something we need to protect.

Image copyright: Tomasz Żołnierek